Note 10: HSE management

Management systems

Operational excellence at our sites is supported by risk- based management systems that follow the Responsible Care® and Coatings Care® principles. Our HSE management standards are set up and updated in accordance with international standards such as ISO-14001, RC-14001, OHSAS-18001 and PAS 55 (public standard for process safety). Many sites and businesses have additional external certification for their management systems, which are subject to audit by our internal audit group and external audits from certification authorities.

External certification










in % of manufacturing sites



























Maturity framework

We have a common maturity framework for measuring HSE management progress at our sites through self-assessment and audit. The HSE maturity framework is being used to drive continuous improvement. The average improvement of sites was 5 percent in 2013, while there was a further reduction of 3 percent in the total reportable injury rate (TRR).

Self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ)

The SAQ, which covers all elements of the HSE management system, is being repositioned as the company-wide HSE improvement planning tool. Specific focus has been placed on high hazard sites to ensure they achieve reference level in all process safety elements. Sites facing difficulties with achieving the designated performance levels are being given special support.

HSE audit

The HSE audit process combines a continuous improvement tool for sites with a periodic audit conducted by HSE subject matter experts from the business and managed by the global Internal Audit function. All sites carry out an annual self-assessment against corporate HSE standards and applicable business requirements by filling in the SAQ. The results are used to prepare site improvement plans, while it also provides input to the corporate HSE audits. Together, the corporate HSE regulations and auditing create the assurance framework.

For most sites, the audit frequency is every five years. For sites with an intrinsic high hazard rating this frequency is every three years. In 2013, the intrinsic hazard rating for all sites was reviewed and updated if necessary. This formal review now takes place every year.

Management audits number of audits

Management audits number of audits (bar chart)

During 2013, we carried out 46 corporate HSE audits (2012: 54), four site closure audits (2012: 2) and six reassurance audits (2012: 5), which are required for sites with high risk findings. Learnings from the 2013 audits indicate that in general, sites have improved their performance. Like previous years, the lagging sites need to continue to improve management of asset integrity and process safety, health and safety and, to a lesser extent, security. These sites are struggling to translate the HSE requirements into daily work practices and demonstrate safe operation of assets. The identified sites will receive additional support.

In July 2013, nearly all auditors and new trainees from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia joined a three-day training session in the Netherlands in which they were trained in all relevant subjects to improve their performance and consistency.

Safety incidents

Safety incidents are incidents with an impact severity which requires an independent investigation. The lessons learned are shared company-wide.

We continue to strive for zero injuries and zero safety incidents. We classify safety incidents based on severity of outcome, from severe local impact (Level 1), to severe impact on a specific business unit (Level 2) and on several business units or the company as a whole (Level 3). The total number of Level 1, 2 and 3 safety incidents dropped to 14 (2012: 23). Of these 14 safety incidents, three involved severe injuries to independent contractors. All 14 incidents were investigated, improvement actions were addressed and the lessons learned shared, to avoid similar incidents re-occurring. There were no Level 3 incidents in 2013.

More focus has been put on the follow-up of incident investigation findings and recommendations, while both investigation process and follow-up are consistently tracked.

Safety incidents (Level 3)

Safety incidents (Level 3) (bar chart)

Safety incidents (Level 3) involve any loss of life; more than five severe injuries; environmental, asset or business damage totaling more than €25 million; or extensive reputational damage.

Regulatory actions

We have defined three categories of regulatory actions, from self-reported issues (Level 1) to formal legal notifications with fines above €10,000 (Level 3).

The most probable explanation for the sharp increase in the number of Regulatory Actions is a stricter definition of the conditional fines recorded as Regulatory Actions.

Regulatory actions



















Regulatory action Level 3: A formal notice of a criminal prosecution or (conditional) penalty greater than €10,000. These are reported to indicate to management the potential for reputation damage and effect on our license to operate.

Regulatory actions (Level 3)









HSE capability development

HSE professionals and line managers with critical HSE functions develop their competencies based on our integrated supply chain competencies framework, proficiency levels and job profiles. Core training and development programs are delivered and further developed by using a blended learning approach which includes, for example, e-learning, classroom training and webinars. In 2013, the use of virtual classrooms was tested and this technology will be used more often in 2014.

To support the development of our product stewardship and regulatory affairs (PS&RA) professionals, we have designed a series of learning programs which are included in our AkzoNobel PS&RA professional curriculum. During 2014, we will develop and deliver more specialized learning programs (Levels 2 and 3). The next modules for HSE professionals will also be developed.

HSE capability development




























% of target group completed HSE Critical Leaders workshop









% of target group completed Level 1 PS&RA program